Zhuge Liang, Or The Cleverest Man In China

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China’s most revered strategist Zhuge Liang 諸葛亮. His name being the embodiment of wisdom itself in the Chinese culture. He was respected by his allies and feared by his enemies. His ingenious strategic endeavours and tactical tricks don’t seize to amaze people even now. Now I won’t do it chronologically. The only important thing to know about him at this point is that he has become a cultural phenomenon in the Chinese (Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese)-speaking world- Zhuge Liang was a general and Chancellor of the ancient Kingdom of Shu in 207-234. He is a real-life personality although some argue that some of the accounts have been somewhat embellished. The Empty Town Stratagem (空城計 kōng chéng jì)Once Zhuge Liang had to dispatch his main forces to a distant camp while he stayed in a small town with just a few soldiers. All of a sudden а scout came running with a report of one hundred-thousand-strong enemy troops heading for the town. Actually the situation was hopeless and Zhuge’s soldiers panicked. They had no time and nowhere to run. Without wasting any time Zhuge Liang then ordered his men to take down their flags, open wide the city gates, and hide themselves in the town.He himself put on a Taoist monk robe, went up the city’s wall, sat and started playing a lute. Now the enemy forces approached but Sima Yi, the enemy general, hesitated. He ordered to halt. The open gates definitely confused him. He sent his scouts to reconnoiter and they were soon back, confirming what nobody would believe, that it really was the great Shu strategist Zhuge Liang sitting on the city wall playing a lute. Now Sima Yi was a cautious general. After some deliberation, he ordered a hasty retreat. Take a moment to think about that … The generals knew a lot about each other and it couldn’t cross Sima’s mind that Zhuge
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